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Tinnitus Care

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound, and other people usually can't hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people and is especially common in older adults.

Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury, or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.

Tinnitus Assessment

Tinnitus Assessment involves a few procedures a client must undergo to help better understand the nature of the Tinnitus and issues experienced because of it.

Tinnitus Questionnaire :- First, a Questionnaire is administered either verbally or in written form. The Questionnaire contains questions which aim at developing a deeper understanding of the tinnitus and its implications on the Quality of Life of the individual.

Tinnitus Matching :- It is the procedure of matching the tinnitus experienced by the client to an Audiometrically produced sound.

  • With the information gathered from the Questionnaidse a general sense of the possible tinnitus experienced is established.
  • The person is then asked to match the different tones presented with the tinnitus they experience first in terms of the pitch then in terms of loudness.
  • This gives us an estimate about the frequency and intensity of the tinnitus experienced.

Masker efficiency check: The final step is to check with different maskers and establish which of them is the most efficient at masking the tinnitus. Efficiency is determined by the lowest intensity of a given masker sufficient to mask the presence of the tinnitus.

With all the data available to the Audiologist about the Tinnitus and its masking requirements, a better Treatment plan can be deployed.

Tinnitus Therapy

Treatment for tinnitus depends on whether your tinnitus is caused by an underlying health condition. If so, it is possible to reduce your symptoms by treating the underlying cause. Examples include:

  • Earwax removal. Removing an earwax blockage can decrease tinnitus symptoms.
  • Treating a blood vessel condition. Underlying blood vessel conditions may require medication, surgery, or another treatment to address the problem.
  • Hearing aids. If your tinnitus is caused by noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, using hearing aids may help improve your symptoms.
  • Changing your medication. If a medication you're taking appears to be the cause of tinnitus, your doctor may recommend stopping or reducing the drug, or switching to a different medication.

Noise suppression:- Many times, tinnitus can't be cured. But there are treatments that can help make your symptoms less noticeable. You may be suggested to use an electronic device to suppress the noise.

Counselling:- Behavioural treatment options aim to help you live with tinnitus by helping you change the way you think and feel about your symptoms.

Over time, your tinnitus may bother you less. Counselling options include:

  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). TRT is an individualized program that is usually administered by an audiologist or at a tinnitus treatment centre. TRT combines sound masking and counselling from a trained professional. Typically, you wear a device in your ear that helps mask your tinnitus symptoms while you also receive directive counselling. Over time, TRT may help you notice tinnitus less and feel less distressed by your symptoms.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or other forms of counselling. A licensed mental health professional or psychologist can help you learn coping techniques to make tinnitus symptoms less bothersome. Counselling can also help with other problems often linked to tinnitus, including anxiety and depression. Many mental health professionals offer CBT for tinnitus in individual or group sessions, and CBT programs are also available online.

Medications Drugs can't cure tinnitus, but in some cases, they may help reduce the severity of symptoms or complications. To help relieve your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat an underlying condition or to help treat the anxiety and depression that often accompany tinnitus.

Clinical trials Lifestyle and home remedies

  • Often, tinnitus can't be treated. Some people, however, get used to it and notice it less than they did at first. For many people, certain adjustments make the symptoms less bothersome. These tips may help:
  • Use hearing protection. Over time, exposure to loud sounds can damage the nerves in the ears, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. To keep your tinnitus from getting worse, take steps to protect your hearing.
  • Turn down the volume. Listening to music at very high volume through headphones can contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Use white noise. If tinnitus is especially noticeable in quiet settings, try using a white noise machine to mask the noise from tinnitus. If you don't have a white noise machine, a fan, soft music, or low-volume radio static also may help.
  • Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. These substances, especially when used in excess, can affect blood flow, and contribute to tinnitus.

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